Max Verstappen encountered a problem early on in the Bahrain Grand Prix and he told his engineer “you better f**king find it”. The Dutchman started the race on pole position but had Lewis Hamilton on his tail from the off.
An early Safety Car, caused by Nikita Mazepin’s spin, bunched up the field on just the second lap.
And while the remaining 19 drivers were following the Aston Martin, race leader Verstappen encountered issues with his throttle.
“I feel something weird off throttle,” he said over the team radio.
Another Safety Car was called out on the sixth lap when Pierre Gasly found himself in a spot of trouble and lost his front wing.
Verstappen got back on his team radio for another conversation.
He added: “There is definitely an issue, you better f**king find it.”
Mercedes got wind of the problem and encouraged Valtteri Bottas to catch the front two.
“So, Verstappen ahead has a problem,” the Finn’s engineer said. “Everything to play with. Come on Valtteri.”
Verstappen had appeared the quickest in all three practice sessions ahead of the race and he carried that momentum into qualifying.
But Verstappen rebuffed those claims ahead of the race.
“It’s [been] our philosophy now for a long time of course,” Verstappen said. “I don’t think we can point it out on that.
“I think there have been a few factors, like we knew our weaknesses from last year and that’s not only the rake, it has to do with rake, so I think also from the engine side I think Honda has worked really hard to improve their engine and in general they’ve done a great job.”